USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Florida is currently accepting applications to fund agricultural easements in the state. NRCS provides both financial and technical assistance to conserve working lands and wetlands through two programs, Agricultural Land Easements (ALE) and Wetland Reserve Easements (WRE).
Under the WRE component, financial assistance is available for landowners to enhance and protect habitat for wildlife on their lands, reduce impacts from flooding, recharge groundwater and provide outdoor recreational and educational opportunities. The voluntary nature of NRCS’ easement programs allows effective integration of wetland restoration on working landscapes, providing benefits to farmers and ranchers who enroll in the program, as well as benefits to their communities. Eligible landowners can enroll in a permanent or 30-year easement.
Under the ALE component, funding will protect agricultural lands by limiting non-agricultural uses. NRCS partners with approved state or local units of government, and certain nongovernmental organizations who arrange for the purchase of development rights through conservation easements on private lands. The entity holds and manages these conservation easements in perpetuity.
While applications for agricultural easements are accepted on a continuous basis, funding selections are typically made once a year. And the deadline to apply for 2019 funding in Florida is April 25th. Learn more at your local NRCS office or on the Florida NRCS website.